Principle 2 of 8 is a reminder no one ever grew a business on their own.
The pressure to prove yourself in a small-business venture has a sneaky tendency to limit your point of view to your own in the moment. According to the experiences of successful leaders in a variety of professions, the best way to rise to the occasion is to seek advice and insight from people you trust and respect.
Some of the world’s premier golfers rely on sessions with Dr. Gio Valiante, renowned author and featured mental coach on The Golf Channel’s reality television competition program, The Big Break. These athletes, incredible talents in their own right, seek out Valiente to learn how to achieve the best mental state for high-stakes competition.
Award-winning entrepreneur Angie Hicks, co-founder and CMO of Angie’s List, told Entrepreneur she finds inspiration during a creative block by, “Making sure I’m out talking to different people, doing some networking…thinking about business from a different perspective.”
When acclaimed actor Idris Elba—raised in London by a Sierra Leonan father and Ghanaian mother—was cast as a Baltimore drug dealer in HBO’s The Wire, he immersed himself in long days with the city’s police officers to hone his ear and tongue to the Baltimore sound.
If a willingness to learn prepares us for the next big challenge, ask yourself how, where and when are you allowing our second Principle of GR8NESS to happen.
- Are you setting aside ego in the interest of continuous improvement and long-term gain?
- Are you exploring the practices and initiatives that helped other businesses overcome challenges and grow?
- Have you looked outside standard SMB operating practices to find new ways to improve supply chain management, access growth capital and scale your business?
Let’s look at more specific examples of what asking for help might look like.
Circle of Accountability
During a business challenge, reaching out to people you trust is easier and more productive than attempting to start new relationships in a time of need. Build yourself an efficient and powerful process for feedback with a circle of accountability, including mentors, Board of Directors and Advisory Council. Additionally, think of your banker, attorney, CPA, and financial advisor as an extension of your team and lean on them for their expertise and guidance.
“If you are not willing to learn no one can help you.
If you are determined to learn no one can stop you.”
Joining a professional association for your industry or region places you in close proximity to business leaders who better understand your business, your challenges and the path to prevailing. Some of these leaders can also help you start or diversify your core advisory team. Consider who else you depend on for key business services, such as an attorney or accountant, and reframe how and when you engage with them. No-nonsense advice may be right at your fingertips for the cost of a cup of coffee.
Collaboration With A Partner
Asking for help can be a two-way street, partnering your business with another to pool resources and work as a team for mutual benefit. You could outsource a function or service at a discount to a business that could use your support and steady business. Engage a staffing agency to efficiently place workers during increased production or seasonal growth. Ask your small-business loan officer for a referral to an alternative lender who can operate more nimbly outside the restrictions placed on financial institutions. Team up with a business complementary to yours for a co-op marketing initiative. There are a number of ways to make your effort and your capital go further.
These examples represent an often underestimated business strategy that simply asks you to recognize the value of asking for help. After all, asking for support of any kind is a sign of strength, for a celebrity or a small-business owner.
What about you? What circumstances recently caused you to reach out for help? We look forward to hearing about your experiences asking for help. Find us on LinkedIn.